Sarah Johnston’s The “Briefs” Job Search Newsletter | www.briefcasecoach.com

In this issue: defining employment gaps, bionic reading, advice for new grads and those looking to hire them, predicting the future of work, words of advice from a beloved MIT professor, trends in benefits and pay and more…

Dear Reader,

Ready or not, summer is here. School is letting out, pools are opening, and nights are longer. I love to use summer as a reset, both personally and professionally. I encourage you to do the same. 

We are halfway through 2022 – how was your first half? What do you want to accomplish by year-end? Did you set new year’s resolutions? Maybe you need to revisit them? Maybe you need a resolution pivot? 

As you look ahead, I challenge you to do three things to set yourself up for a successful end to 2023…

  1. List your personal and professional goals – short-term and long-term – where do you want to be?
  2. Map out a plan. It doesn’t need to be complicated but make a roadmap of how you see yourself reaching your goals.
  3. Revisit your resume. Make sure it is in working order. You never know when the dream job will present itself and they “just need a resume”. 

I dare to add one more challenge – enjoy the summer. Whatever that looks like for you – find joy in your days. 

Rooting for you,

Sarah


Workplace Trends

Stop – Don’t Choose Remote Work Without Reading This
Stop – Don’t Choose Remote Work Without Reading Thisdrjohnsullivan.com

Dr. John Sullivan, a talent thought leader, estimates that in-the-office workers get up to 50% more career-building options than a remote worker. His article looks at the top 10 benefits of working in the office. Thanks to Hung Lee of Recruiting Brainfood for originally sharing this article.

Microsoft Releases Viva Goals: Performance Management Is Sexy Again
Microsoft Releases Viva Goals: Performance Management Is Sexy Againjoshbersin.com

Josh Bersin looks at the age-old practice of performance management and how it is continuing to be beneficial to companies. Spoiler alert: this Microsoft investment signals that performance management app

Brace Yourself

Be Prepared For Hiring Freezes And Layoffs
Be Prepared For Hiring Freezes And Layoffswww.forbes.com

Forbes’ Jack Kelly gives a stark warning that hiring freezes and layoffs are looming. When the C-suite is concerned about the future and worried that things may take a turn for the worse, they’ll reign in expenditures. This includes cutting back on hiring and culling the workforce to cut costs.

Benefits & Pay

The Worst Mistakes Executives Make When Negotiating Their Pay
The Worst Mistakes Executives Make When Negotiating Their Paykatedixon.org

Salary negotiating mistakes can feel cringey at any level, but when you become an executive, mistakes can become showstoppers. Career Coach, Kate Dixon says to avoid these 9 traps.

Stock Options: An Executive Perk Slipping Away
Stock Options: An Executive Perk Slipping Awaywww.kornferry.com

The faltering stock market has greatly reduced the value of some executive pay packages. Korn Ferry explores the question – Will this make top talent decide to leave? While employers are the target audience for the article, it still raises some thoughtful points.

The Argument for Location-Based Salaries Is Falling Apart
The Argument for Location-Based Salaries Is Falling Apartwww.wired.co.uk

Is location-based pay structure sustainable? Faced with unfair pay disparities, Wired’s Megan Carnegie looks at how tech workers are finding ways to game the system.

Flower Potluck

I recently attended a “flower potluck” event.

Similar to a Sunday dinner food potluck where one would bring a dish to share, we instead brought one or two bunches of flowers to share with the group.

My friend led us all on a crash course in simple, elegant floral decorating.

And while we all had access to the same flowers, our arrangements could not have turned out more different.

If you’ve done any flower decorating, you know it all comes down to the 3 F’s:

The Foundation: the large blooms (think: the hydrangea or peony)

The Focal Point: The beautiful flower that is the star of the arrangement (think: a tulip or ranunculus)

The Floaters: These are light filler flowers that add another dimension and whimsy to the bouquet (think: baby’s breath, pansies, cosmos)

—–

Our careers are similar.

Think about it: you were probably in a cohort of students who selected the same college major. You presumably all have similar levels of intelligence and gifting.

And while you may have started at the same place (college graduation), it’s likely that 10-15-years from your college graduation date, you are all on different trajectories.

These are impacted by the 3F’s

Foundation: These are your unique strengths, talents, and unique value proposition. Your career foundation is not a concrete slab– it can expand and develop over time but does require nurturing and a commitment to learning.

Focal Point: Your goals and desires. Where you see yourself going and what you are willing to sacrifice to make it happen. Like your foundation, your focal point can change. Life events can contribute to a focal point shift.

The Floaters: I think of career floaters as things you do in addition to your “job description” or outside of the office contributing to your career narrative. This can include volunteer work, religious activities, the influence of friends, and being a mentor/mentee. Like with flowers, floaters can add depth and beauty to a career. The “career floaters” bring more meaning and enjoyment than the focal point for some.

As cheesy as this sounds, it’s true: Your career is unique.

Because YOU are unique. You are not your parents, your boss, or your old college roommate. Stop comparing yourself. Embrace the beauty.

Advice for New Grads

Many of you are navigating college and early career decisions with your young adult children. There are some great resources this time of year to support and coach parents who are helping guide and mentor their students.

19 valuable pieces of advice from the best graduation speeches of all time
19 valuable pieces of advice from the best graduation speeches of all timewww.businessinsider.com

Phyllis Mufson recently shared this must-read on Twitter on take-away bits from graduation speeches from Will Ferrell to Oprah Winfrey. Taylor Swift’s NYU speech called on graduates to embrace their mistakes and said, “a lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too.”

Four Ways Parents Can Help Launch Recent College Grads' Careers
Four Ways Parents Can Help Launch Recent College Grads' Careerswww.forbes.com

Parents want to see their adult children successfully launch their careers, but many do not understand how to effectively support them through this process. Forbes Council contributor, Jill Tipograph walks through ways to help.

New graduates should go into the office, not work remote
New graduates should go into the office, not work remotewww.washingtonpost.com

In this Washington Post opinion piece, Megan McArdle explores the dangers of remote work, especially for young employees. This article offers advice for those who mentor young professionals.

The Class of 2022 Is in Demand. What Do New Grads Want?
The Class of 2022 Is in Demand. What Do New Grads Want?www.wsj.com

Lindsay Ellis looks at how to attract new grads as your next hire. Money, flexibility and specific assignments are important to those starting their careers—but so is a chance to come into an office.

Closing the Interview

38 Smart Questions to Ask in a Job Interview
38 Smart Questions to Ask in a Job Interviewhbr.org

Soo… Do you have questions for me?” The opportunity to ask questions at the end of a job interview is one you don’t want to waste. HBR’s Amy Gallo gives jobseekers a list of thoughtful and smart questions to close an interview with.

Personal Development

Nick Singh on LinkedIn: Insane how reading this feels like unlocking 100% of your brain
Nick Singh on LinkedIn: Insane how reading this feels like unlocking 100% of your brain www.linkedin.com

New developments in Bionic Reading are breaking the internet. This new typesetting is creating an easier reading experience for so many who have struggled with speed reading and comprehension of the written word. What do you think? Does it change the way that you read?

A Respected MIT Professor Said Your Success Will Be Determined by 3 Things. Here's How to Get Better at Each of Them
A Respected MIT Professor Said Your Success Will Be Determined by 3 Things. Here's How to Get Better at Each of Themwww.inc.com

Prior to his passing, beloved MIT professor, Patrick Winston regularly gave a compelling speech on good communication. Inc.’s Justin Barisso captures his advice and how to put it into practice.

Don’t let a season of unemployment define you.

An employment gap does not equal a gap in character.

Unemployment happens to good people all of the time…. and if it hasn’t happened to you, it’s likely that it’s not IF but WHEN it will.

I’m talking to job seekers who never imagined that they’d be unemployed right now. They always had recruiters calling them… but now the jobs just aren’t there. Their industry changed overnight.

This message is for hiring managers: I am seeing GREAT (!!) candidates right now who have been job searching for months. Please understand the past two (plus) years have been extraordinary circumstances.

Suzanne Lucas penned one of the best arguments mid-pandemic for hiring the long-time unemployed.

Remember: rejecting people simply because they’ve been unemployed for a while (and making assumptions about their qualifications) is a real missed opportunity.

I recently sat down to discuss with a client his season of unemployment. His insights are really enlightening – I encourage you to read his perspective.

Can you do me a favor?

I’m on a mission to help job seekers land amazing jobs. Would you consider doing one of the following:

  • Forward this newsletter to your job searching friends or post about it on social media. This small act really helps!
  • Consider sharing my company name with your HR leadership. We are a great “white-glove” boutique option for executive outplacement
  • Recommend me as a paid speaker for your company events on networking, job searching or leveraging LinkedIn
  • Recommend my services to high performers wanting to work one-on-one with an executive resume writer / or experienced interview coach

Did you enjoy this issue?

Sarah Johnston

Sarah Johnston is a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. She has relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and has had to execute job searches in completely cold markets. She has been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

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